…as Zanaco is booted out of CAF Confederation Cup
By Sports Reporter
ZAMBIAN champions Zesco United stormed the group stage of the 2016 CAF Champions League, beating Stade Mailen of Mali 2-1 in a thrilling second round final leg encounter played yesterday at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium.
Zesco qualified on a 5-2 aggregate, having won the first leg 3-1 in Bamako much to the excitement of coach George “Chicken” Lwandamina.
Kenyan striker Jesse Were put Zesco ahead in the fifth minute after Mailen defenders failed to clear the ball, and Were blasted it past goalkeeper Diarra Djighi.
Zesco continued to mount pressure on Malien but could not convert several opportunities in the first half.
Were earlier sent a scare to the Malians in the 15th minute from a Clatous Chama pass but his shot went wide.
Lwandamina substituted John Ching’andu for Mwelwa Mwape in the 31st minute after the former failed to put up an impressive display.
Minutes later, Were and Ben Bahn were given yellow cards after fouling Diallo Moussakoya and Samake Issaka.
Mailen returned to the second half on a high note with Coulibaly Mamadou causing havoc on Zesco defence.
His efforts paid off in the 57th minute when he levelled the score with a thunderbolt from 30 metres.
But Malien soon lost momentum thereafter, allowing Zesco to dance in their half although missing many chances.
Maybin Mwaba put Zesco back in the lead in the 81st minute with a shot from inside the box from an Idriss Mbombo set-up.
Frustrations crippled Malien with Issaka given a red card for an off-the-ball incident with Mwaba in the 85th minute.
Lwandamina said he was happy that the boys had fulfilled their primary mission of reaching the group stage.
Meanwhile, Zanaco were booted out of the 2016 CAF Confederation Cup, losing 3-0 to Tunisian side Stade Gabesien in Tunis yesterday.
Goals from Armded Hosni, Hamza Jlassi and Hichami Sifi aided Gabesien to the next round on a 4-1 aggregate.
Zanaco were under pressure in the away return leg after drawing 1-1 at Nkoloma Stadium in the first leg.